Gold is one of the few forms of legal tender that has increased in value over time. According to Macrotrends, one hundred years ago an ounce of gold was worth $284.79 (October 1919 , adjusted for inflation). In October 2019, an ounce of gold was worth $1,506.40. And although the price of gold varies depending on economic factors such as supply and demand, inflation expectations, and the strength of the U.S. dollar, gold has always been highly valued.
Conversely, the value of the dollar has decreased significantly over this same time period. In 1919, you could pay rent for a family of four, buy furniture, and even cover your fuel and light expenses for a year:
|Fuel and light||$57.19|
|Furniture and furnishings||$30.31|
Today, you can feed a family of four for just a week for basically that same amount ($206.40). Or you can pay one (or a combination) of these monthly bills:
|Cable, internet and phone||$118|
The U.S. dollar isn’t the only paper currency that has lost value. Last year, CNBC reported that 115 of 180 global currencies declined in value.
Paper currencies tend to fail over time (after 27 years on average), while the value of gold continues to increase. To give you a better idea of how much gold is worth, the infographic below compares the value of gold to other popular commodities.